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Non-Violent, Cooperative Games? 329

Posted by Soulskill
from the play-that-myspace-game-to-befriend-monsters dept.
jandersen writes "While I generally don't play computer games, I do occasionally play games like Crossfire or The Mana World, because they have more of a story line and allow you to go at your own pace. What I don't care much about, though, is that they are still focused on killing monsters and amassing wealth, and it gets very tedious after a while. Are there really no games where the goal isn't so much about increasing your own power and defeating others, but where you instead grow by doing things that benefit others, where enemies shouldn't be killed out of hand, but befriended; where learning, teaching, research and social skills are more important than killing and conquering? Would people be interested in a game of that nature?"
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Non-Violent, Cooperative Games?

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  • SimCity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tubal-Cain (1289912) * on Monday November 10, 2008 @12:38AM (#25700389) Journal
    I don't know... SimCity? Wii Sports? Jewel Quest & friends?
    • by Xiroth (917768)

      Harvest Moon series, Animal Crossing series... ...Dungeon Keeper (if you assume befriend = torture into submission ;) ).

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        There's some other definition for befriend?

    • by TheLink (130905) on Monday November 10, 2008 @03:31AM (#25701211) Journal
      How about Instant Messaging and facebook?

      Seems quite popular. Lots of people go about collecting friends/"friends".

      Some of the AIs involved may even surprise you once in a while and say something coherent and intelligent.

      Then there's also Slashdot. ;)
    • Re:SimCity (Score:5, Informative)

      by cgenman (325138) on Monday November 10, 2008 @03:55AM (#25701299) Homepage

      Puzzle Pirates [puzzlepirates.com]. Play puzzles to bilge, sail, build clothing, etc. It's a (vaguely) player driven economy with a mostly laid back group of people. And, of course, there is Viva Pinata [xbox.com].

      I think the original poster's goals are unreachable with current technology and techniques. You can't befriend a game in any more substantive a fashion than you can befriend your television... lots of games have tried various ways of simulating human interactions, but humans are notoriously complex. Emotional simulation systems quickly break down into either simplistic grinding or laughable parodies of humanity. If you attempt to replace those computer entities with actual other online human beings... Let's just say that you can't rely upon other human beings in online games to act like human beings.

      The closest thing to what the grandparent poster asked for is the sims [ea.com]. It's a good example of how simplified human interactions have to be made in order to work in a simulated environment.

    • by ShakaUVM (157947)

      I'd just steer the OP away from Puzzle Quest. It's like bejeweled, but in an RPG setting.

      The simulated violence consists of matching three tiles and dealing "damage" to the opponent. =)

    • Re:SimCity (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Laser_iCE (1125271) on Monday November 10, 2008 @06:31AM (#25701947)
      I think one of the greatest games to EVER be released would have to be Grim Fandango. It's packed with an awesome story, along with some beautiful scenery and voice acting that I'm still yet to see outdone in any games over the past 10 years. If anyone else reading this hasn't played the game, then I high recommend you go out and find it (or stay inside and find it online). For those unfamiliar with it, it plays in the same sort of style as Monkey Island.

      Seriously, check it out. They've just recently released the original design document, it's worth checking it out (They've taken the original story down... But Kotaku's mirror is still available)

      http://kotaku.com/5077780/tim-shafer-publishes-original-grim-fandango-design-doc [kotaku.com]
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Uh, I guess it's not a very popular game or anything but there's rumors of some sort of "guitar hero", and the guy in it might be forming a "rock band" with his friends if they could ever stop playing "ddr" so much.

  • by NaCh0 (6124) on Monday November 10, 2008 @12:41AM (#25700407)

    But much like the real world, it won't get you very far.

    • by Auroch (1403671) on Monday November 10, 2008 @01:05AM (#25700547)

      much like the real world, it won't get you very far.

      Part of the allure of MMORPGs is the accumulation of wealth and the feeling of dominance and superiority. Most of the older gamers that feel the need to create a sense of community, or contribute to a common goal are usually doing so within a guild/group, and competing with other groups. This appeals to another part of the human psyche, the need to establish an out-group, and to be better than the opposition!

      There are games for younger children which don't incorporate violence, and encourage good skills - but they're marketed to parents, not to children, and usually aren't that much fun.

      So, whether or not there is a market for such games, I don't know. But I do get the sense that the target audience doesn't have the buying power, and the people who would purchase these games are already purchasing other educational and boring games.

      So, if you're not a child, why would you want to immerse yourself in a world where you help people? If you are that sort of person, you probably realize that your time would be better spent actually helping people in real life. And if helping is really that important to you... well, you're probably not playing videogames in your spare time, anyways.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by jonaskoelker (922170)

        Part of the allure of MMORPGs is the accumulation of wealth and the feeling of dominance and superiority.

        Have a look at Richard Batle's four player personality types (http://www.mud.co.uk/richard/hcds.htm and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bartle_Test [wikipedia.org]).

        Brief outline: Achievers want to win the game; they want all the bottles and poe souls, all 120 stars and an FC of all songs. Explorers want to know the game; they are the ones reverse engineering all the formulas describing hit probability, damage calculations, loot drop tables and so forth. Killers want to rule the game; they want to be able to kill everyone b

      • by BerntB (584621)

        If I want to play games and solve problems with other people, I just work (even) more. To relax, I want to kill people -- preferable those I know. With nice visual effects.

        1/2 :-)

    • by Indras (515472) on Monday November 10, 2008 @01:45AM (#25700725)

      But much like the real world, it won't get you very far.

      Yes, there are a few games that can be won without any violence at all, but they either wind up being too boring or too difficult. For instance, in Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magicka, there is a journal that keeps track of quests and kills and such, and it is entirely possible to beat the game with 0 kills. There are quite a few quests than can be completed with no violence at all, you can run from pretty much every battle, and even the end boss of the game can be defeated without violence. However, it is very, very difficult. Think beating Final Fantasy with a 1 white mage party.

      Likewise the Civilization series, Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, Master of Orion, and other games of that nature can often be won with pacifistic strategies, at the expense of enjoyment. Sure, they're somewhat enjoyable the first time through to see all the technologies and city/planet upgrades, but there's hardly any replayability.

      Another one that comes to mind is Europa 1400. It is a game that really doesn't fit into any genre. Sort of a version of The Sims set in 15th century Europe with careers such as blacksmithing, alchemy, and masonry. Amassing your wealth is the point of the game, but violence is difficult to find: you can become a thief or robber baron, or in the right circumstance challenge another npc to a duel, though it rarely results in death.

      I played a MUD heavily back in high school when I first got a computer called Dragonrealms by Simutronics. At the time it was a free game in the AOL Games arena, back when AOL first offered a plan that did not charge by the hour. It was entirely possible to play some classes without killing mobs at all, like Cleric, Empath, or Trader. In fact, for one class (the Empath), harming another was strictly prohibited, and doing so was punished heavily in game.

      As for a game that is intrinsically nonviolent, the Sim games are probably the only popular ones I can think of. Sim City, Sim Tower, The Sims, and the like are all well known titles, The Sims and expansions, in particular, sell very well and frequently visit top 10 seller lists.

      So yeah, there are games that do not revolve around killing monsters or amassing wealth, or both, and some games can be played and enjoyed using pacifism, but they are certainly rare.

      • by Anachragnome (1008495) on Monday November 10, 2008 @03:44AM (#25701255)

        "As for a game that is intrinsically nonviolent, the Sim games are probably the only popular ones I can think of. Sim City, Sim Tower, The Sims, and the like are all well known titles, The Sims and expansions, in particular, sell very well and frequently visit top 10 seller lists."

        You obviously do not have a sick mind.

        Other then using a cheat code, the fastest way to make money in the Sims was to marry a neighbor(after the proper amount of time spent on wooing them), wait for the new wife/husband to go for a swim, then delete the ladder coming out of the pool. Let em tread water until they meet a watery death. Tada! You are now the sole beneficiary of the deceased's estate.

        Either that, or simply brick 'em into a wall. Gravestones in the pool always seems to upset the party guests.

        • by wvmarle (1070040)
          Marry a royal neighbour... then kill him/her and his/her family... doesn't sound too far from real life to me. Those sims are getting more and more realistic by the day.
      • by Salgak1 (20136) <salgak@sLIONpeakeasy.net minus cat> on Monday November 10, 2008 @09:19AM (#25703245) Homepage
        Au contraire: I rather enjoy minimal-combat strategies for winning Civ IV. I've managed Research-'em to Death victories (i.e. research to successfully build and launch a starship in the late 1800s/early 1900s) and Virus/Borg victories, where you spread so fast that you are literally all over the start continent in the first millenium, and between everyone else. . .and then just Assimilate everyone by culture and growth. . .
    • by JohnFluxx (413620)

      You can play nethack as a tourist and complete it without killing a single creature.
      You can even play as a vegetarian or a vegan.

  • Get a PS3... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Swift Kick (240510) on Monday November 10, 2008 @12:42AM (#25700411)

    ... then get Little Big Planet [littlebigplanet.com]

    Have fun.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Aladrin (926209)

      While LBP doesn't -technically- meet the non-violent requirement, the 'violence' is limited to hitting a purple bubble on a moving 'enemy'. The majority (95+%) of the game is getting through the level by triggering switches or running and jumping.

      In addition, you can make your own levels and share them with others, or play levels made by others. Some are already quite interesting. I even found a Film Noir one, The Case of the Crying Sackgirl. It needed a little work, but it was worth playing through.

  • by blahplusplus (757119) * on Monday November 10, 2008 @12:44AM (#25700423)

    "I don't care much about, though, is that they are still focused on killing monsters and amassing wealth, and it gets very tedious after a while. Are there really no games where the goal isn't so much about increasing your own power and defeating others, but where you instead grow by doing things that benefit others, where enemies shouldn't be killed out of hand, but befriended; where learning, teaching, research and social skills are more important than killing and conquering?"

    The truth is not enough is known to make such a game, not only that it is subject to aesthetic prejudices and what not. I would imagine text adventures would fall into the realm you're looking for... any GUI based game needs all the bells and whistles to be compelling to an audience.

    If the market wanted such games it would demand them and pay for them, you are in an extreme minority IMHO.

    The technology is not there yet to do "social" games, the AI and interfaces are pretty primitive and no computer NPC's would be believable, hell games have a hard enough time portraying well voice acted computer animated characters with gusto... the truth is what the OP wants in the story is not technically within our means, and most "help each other games" are subject to the same kind of politics and BS and those who have free time vs those who don't (disproportionately kids, teens or idiots).

    Finally.. go do good deeds in the real world, that is what the real world is for. Games are an escape from real life, that is what they are supposed to be - fantasy and wish fulfillment.

    The point of games is to do what is entertaining. Almost all videogames have elements of competition in them, or competition against the computer.

    • by Z80xxc! (1111479)

      The technology is not there yet to do "social" games...

      Sure there is. It's called The Real World. Stunning graphics, no artificial intelligence, but lots of real intelligence. It's awesome!

      ...those who have free time vs those who don't (disproportionately kids, teens or idiots).

      I resent your insinuation that teenagers have free time. I rarely sleep more than 7 hours a night, and it's not because I'm fooling around all the time. When you were a teenager, did you do two sports, take 7 rigorous classes, parti

      • by dfn_deux (535506)
        You ever tried to raise a family, pay the bills, ... ah fuck never mind...
    • by grumbel (592662)

      If the market wanted such games it would demand them and pay for them, you are in an extreme minority IMHO.

      Isn't 'The Sims' kind of like the best selling PC game ever and before that wasn't Myst right at the top? SimCity, Roller Coaster Tycoon and a whole bunch of other non-violent games seem to sell pretty and the Wii also still is selling quite nicely. There definitively seems to be a huge demand for non-violent stuff. The only trouble of course is that morphing those games into MMO isn't an easy task and especially not a well tested, since you can't just clone WoW and get good results. But you still get stuff

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Get your wife/girlfriend/housemate to hide your key somewhere in your house before you go to bed. The next morning have them make you do a series of tasks such as "the buttering of the twelve slices" and "cleaning up hell's kitchen" in order to earn clues as to their whereabouts. For added realism, upon discovery of your keys, speak to them again and have them give you a pound and some un-useful object such as a hoover nozzle that you may need to use to solve a problem later on in the day.

      There you have i
    • "If the market wanted such games it would demand them and pay for them, you are in an extreme minorit."

      I disagree - and so would market figures. The average age of gamers is rising every year, and now that there are proportionately less youngsters playing games so there is less need for gamers to use games to vent their unconscious rage against their sense of powerlessness that serves as the basic mechanic for games that involve killing and destroying.

      LBP and SC etc. are all well and good, but I am convinc

    • by pizzach (1011925)

      I'm pretty sure you don't kill things in Animal Crossing. The newest version on the Wii even has voice support. Though I don't personally know much about it.

  • by Tubal-Cain (1289912) * on Monday November 10, 2008 @12:45AM (#25700429) Journal
    Doom.
    • by Fluffeh (1273756)
      Team Tetris?

      On a slightly more serious note, find a nice MMO and go help noobs. Or get vanity pets. Or vanity items. Actually just open up a warcraft account - Soon you will be wondering where all that time you had went and you won't have to kill much. Well, sort of. I hear you can do a lot standing outside a bank these days.
  • M.U.L.E. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by alienghic (693272) on Monday November 10, 2008 @12:47AM (#25700435)
    M.U.L.E [wikipedia.org], players who cooperated had a better outcome for their colony than when everyone was back stabbing each other. (Not that I knew that when I was playing.) The genre of "German Boardgames" avoids violence and usually has an interplay of cooperation and competition, there are computer implementations of some of the more popular, like settlers of catan.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Pioneers is a great free software implementation of Settlers of Catan. You can play over LAN, internet, or single player with AI opponents. I'm not sure I'd say it is cooperative, but there is resource trading between players and there's certainly no violence. Oh yeah, and it's fun!

      Pioneers homepage [sourceforge.net]

    • by SimHacker (180785)

      M.U.L.E. is one of the greatest cooperative multi player games of all time. Totally classic and ingenious!

      -Don

  • Classics (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    There's always the Myst [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myst] and Monkey Island [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monkey_Island_(series)] series...

  • You can win the game by killing or making friends. Pick whatever you want.
    • by XaXXon (202882)

      There was the problem where it's not actually any fun, though.

      Especially after the first 30 minutes.

      • by kaos07 (1113443)
        You didn't find it fun, I didn't find it fun either. But plenty of people did so there's no point out leaving out games purely based on your own opinion of them.
  • Animal Crossing (Score:4, Informative)

    by Chlorus (1146335) on Monday November 10, 2008 @12:52AM (#25700449)
    That game was pretty much designed just for this scenario. Hell, as a hardcore gamer (logged nearly 1000 hours in FFXI) even I enjoyed it. Sequel's gonna be out in the US on the 16th, too.
  • A Tale in the Desert (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tsa (15680) on Monday November 10, 2008 @12:52AM (#25700455) Homepage

    I sought long and hard for just the games you mentioned after Myst Online crashed for the second time, and the only thing I found is A Tale of the Desert [ataleinthedesert.com]. This game exactly suits your needs, I think. No violence, you can trade stuff you grew or made, etc. I never played it because I basically want MystOnline to be back online, but I think you should give it a try.

    • by Pvt_Waldo (459439)

      I'll second the motion. It's a hugely intriguing game with a lot of depth and potential, if not reliance on people working together. There's definitely competition, though of a subtle nature.

    • by khallow (566160)
      Got to agree. Never played the game, but it was the only thing that came to mind given the initial criteria. I imagine this game has a serious squatter problem. Some markets and locations have to be considerably more valuable than others. Even a bunch of cooperative new players will have difficulty breaking into the good stuff.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by wilkinc (1247844)
        Actually, that's not true at all. I played the game for about 7 years and apart from some *very* niche elements of the game, new players have exactly the same opportunities as established players. A bunch of cooperative new players should be much more able to pass tests and experience all parts of the game than an established player playing solo. The advantage older players have is the already-established network of friends and trading partners. As an aside, ATITD is the only game I know of which has a de
  • OpenTTD (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 10, 2008 @12:53AM (#25700459)

    Open Transport Tycoon Deluxe. http://www.openttd.org/ [openttd.org]

    It's an open source recode of the original classic game, but with all the tweaks to bring it up to modern standards (8-players multiplayer, huge maps, better cargo routing algorithms, etc). Fantastic stuff.

    There's also a large massively OpenTTD cooperative group, focussing on ways of making huge efficient cargo networks and other scenarios. http://www.openttdcoop.org/blog/ [openttdcoop.org]

    • by Tycho (11893)

      I really hope that in "Open Transport Tycoon Deluxe", the "Open Transport" referenced has nothing to do with the buying and selling bits of this:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Transport [wikipedia.org]

      Yeah, I thought I had forgotten about that "Open Transport", thanks for the horrible flashback you goddamn bastard. ;)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Alioth (221270)

      Can you play this game yet without needing the long-out-of-production and therefore no longer legally obtainable Transport Tycoon Deluxe?

  • But the Victorians had the golden era of cooperative gaming.

  • by GrpA (691294) on Monday November 10, 2008 @01:00AM (#25700513)

    You just described *half* the FPS genres out there... Seriously.

    There were two different FPS genres establised in the early 90s

    The first type (and first 3D FPS game) started with a game called Ultima Underworld, and was an open-goal type of FPS where you could do many things and interact with many people. You could achieve your goals by helping people, or perhaps if you were more ruthless, killing them (although the latter often had consequences).

    The second was called Wolfenstein 3D. It's the more common type of FPS. Just run around blowing things up. That's the plot... And make your way through a level.

    Still, it's gone of from there - Both types of game type exist within the whole of the FPS type of gameset.

    Games such as Dark Messiah and Deus Ex ( and sequels ) is a help-people type of game (if you want to) while games like Doom, Quake etc, are a If-it-moves-kill-it-if-it-doesn't-kill-it-anyway sort of FPS.

    The same themes exist in many other games. The extent varies and they often get a bit of each mixed in (eg, System shoch is the latter with a little bit of the first)

    Try some of the "Single-player" focus FPS games.... They can often be played mostly non-violently - eg, stealth, skill, persausion.

    Of course, if you want violence banned from the game entirely, there's always "My Little Ponies" but as an adult, part of the enjoyment of a game is making decisions and seeing the outcome. Sometimes you choose the stick, sometimes the carrot, but at the end of the day, it's your choice on how you want to play.

    GrpA.

    • by p0tat03 (985078) on Monday November 10, 2008 @01:36AM (#25700691)

      Games such as Dark Messiah and Deus Ex ( and sequels ) is a help-people type of game (if you want to)

      I think the OP's point is that even games like Deus Ex cannot be played in a completely peaceful way. While DX did give you ways to end many situations peacefully, you would be quite hard-pressed to not commit any acts of violence through the entire game. I've gone through without a single kill (except those required by the story), but I don't think it's possible not to *attack* at all.

      • by GrpA (691294)

        I think you've rather eloquently made my example - You didn't kill people out-of-hand, but only when offered no other choice.

        The choices you make throughout the games ( eg, do you release the nanites to clean the air or allow them to be withheld making it poisonous for people to live outside ) - there are often no clear right and wrong choices - each choice makes you acutely aware of the consequences of the decision and you must talk to many NPCs and gain insights from each perspective into the problem to m

  • by JimboFBX (1097277) on Monday November 10, 2008 @01:00AM (#25700515)
    ... best explains this. Play Civ 4. Play it by researching and trading and and expanding with friendly means. Play through the game on settler and never get attacked, and there is never any conflict or risk of losing. Then be so bored you dont want to come back.

    After her second game which I forced her to play, on a higher difficulty, she made the comment "war is the part that is more fun".

    And that is why games center more on violence.
  • World of Goo (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    There is a Wii game called World of Goo. Sounds a lot like what you're looking for.

  • by w0mprat (1317953)
    Many sports games may fit what you require? Some simulation games?
    • Many sports games may fit what you require?

      Probably not... look at his criteria again:

      Are there really no games where the goal isn't so much about increasing your own power and defeating others...

      Competition and winning is what sport games are all about so that should rule them out (besides if he didn't think by himself of trying out sport games before...).

  • Hello Kitty Online (Score:2, Informative)

    by Rosyna (80334)
    If you want non-violent games, then try Hello Kitty Online [hellokittyonline.com]. It's truly innovative.
  • Example of the latest game: LEGO Batman [wikipedia.org].

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Chad Miller (1252738)
      OP didn't say "I'm grossed out by gore," they said "I don't want to play a game that's about killing stuff." The LEGO games are cutesy, kid-appropriate hack n' slash but they're still hack 'n slash.
  • Planescape: Torment (Score:4, Informative)

    by Kandenshi (832555) on Monday November 10, 2008 @01:54AM (#25700777)

    How about Planescape: Torment [wikipedia.org]?

    The complex and storyline-based nature of the game means that gameplay often focuses on resolution of quest and story objectives through selection from available dialogue choices, rather than combat. Simply stopping and having a long (often very long) chat with one of the other members of the player's group can often advance the game more (and reveal more surprising things) than hours of combat and questing in other games. In fact, there are only four or so required combat encounters within the game, while contemporary role-playing games have tens or hundreds. All other encounters can be resolved or avoided through dialogue or stealth.

    Planescape: Torment is notable for the quality and quantity of textual dialogue it contains. It is estimated that the game's script contains around 800,000 words. A review in the New York Times noted that, "The game's level of detail and its emotional impact have prompted some players to cast about for literary peers."

    It has some pretty witty dialogue too, and it's an interesting universe. You may be familiar with the general principles if you ever dabbled in D&D, though naturally some adaptations were made to make sure it worked better as a computer game.

    It has some issues(for one, finding a legitimate copy). There were some bugs in the final shipped version and it's not supported anymore, but fans have fixed a few more of the bugs and have a patch available(linked in the wikipedia article, reference 9).

    You are of course free to slaughter all sorts of things in the game(though there are consequences for killing lots of townfolk or dabus' in particular). But you don't have to by any stretch of the imagination, and usually you shouldn't just stick your knife in things for fun. Heck, the final boss fight at the end of the game can be resolved in a couple different ways through dialogue(and this approach gives IMO by far the most satisfying ending). Wisdom is by far the most important stat in the game for The Nameless One, followed by Int and then Cha.

    I'd heartily recommend it, as do some game reviewing companies for what that's worth.

  • I believe the perfect game for you is Hello Kitty Online. [hellokittyonline.com] I think the beta is still open if you'd like to try it early.

    Yes, it does exist.

    No, I am not making this up.

  • Are there really no games where the goal isn't so much about increasing your own power and defeating others, but where you instead grow by doing things that benefit others, where enemies shouldn't be killed out of hand, but befriended; where learning, teaching, research and social skills are more important than killing and conquering?

    It's not a game you need, it's to work for a NPO [wikipedia.org]. Past a certain point, real life's challenges might meet your expectations better than virtual ones. Or maybe try dating simu [wikipedia.org]

  • http://www.atitd.com/ [atitd.com]

    (Damn slashdot javascript ate my comment)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Tale_in_the_Desert [wikipedia.org]

    It's non-combat, based around social interaction, development and construction. Very tightly knit community. I'd really give it a try, monthly fee but first 24 hours of play are free.

  • Fold It! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gringer (252588) on Monday November 10, 2008 @03:24AM (#25701191)

    Try Foldit [fold.it]. It's a game where you fold proteins to get a ranking / score (no money incentive at the moment). If you want to cooperate, join a team and evolve someone else's folded protein. There's also a duel mode, where you battle against someone else, trying to fold a protein in as few moves as possible.

    And just in case you're interested, the folding helps researchers who are looking for ways in which humans can fold better than computers.

  • Katamari Damacy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gapagos (1264716) on Monday November 10, 2008 @03:44AM (#25701251)

    I can't believe nobody mentioned the Katamari series yet.

  • What exactly is it that you do want?

    You write a little about what you don't want, and hint at why, but really not enough to answer your question. Are you fundamentally opposed to violence for some reason, or is it just that mindless shooting bores you?

  • Why not go to board games like chess or Monopoly?

  • SimWork? Sounds like fun. What do you imagine the benefits would be?

  • Leisure Suit Larry (Score:2, Interesting)

    by EatingSteak (1053512)
    The game Leisure Suit Larry [leisuresuitlarry.org] seems to fit your description perfectly. Enjoy!
  • Settlers of Catan (Score:3, Informative)

    by srothroc (733160) on Monday November 10, 2008 @04:28AM (#25701449) Homepage
    A great board game and apparently a great XBox Live Arcade game as well. I'd imagine that there are other versions floating around too. Absolutely no combat (unless you get Cities and Knights, the expansion), just building, trading, and negotiation. Great fun.
  • ..you can win Master of Orion, Civilization etc by clever trade & diplomatics.
    • Actually, games like that are excellent demonstrations on the need for force. Or, at least, the need for the ability to project force.

      All the diplomacy, strategic locations, wealth, economy, and so on, aren't going to help when the Meklar (or Mongols) decide they want your planets/cities.

      After all, if violence begets violence, pacifism begets slavery.

  • The Japanese have an entire game genre dedicated to building social interaction.
    The end-goal might not be what you're looking for, though :-)

  • ... Black and White series?

    I've not played B&W2, but B&W was certainly playable without killing everything within your field of vision.
  • by khallow (566160) on Monday November 10, 2008 @07:04AM (#25702073)

    I think the current apex of cooperative games has to be Eve Online [eve-online.com] (genre: massively multiplayer internet spaceships game) At first glance, it doesn't seem that suitable. It's pvp-oriented, with nonconsensual pvp even in the supposedly safest parts of the game (well once you're flying in space, technically anyone can attack you though there are consequences in the securer regions, namely dying in 10-20 seconds due to massive law enforcement retaliation). Scams are allowed and the game admins will not compensate you unless the loss in question can be shown to be due to a game failing. The secure regions are known collectively as "empire" and there are some repercussions to attacking other players in these regions which can range from certain death to security rating penalties (which collectively govern where you can go in Empire without getting shot at). The game can have tens of thousands of users on at a time. All those users play in the same world.

    Massive corporations (what a guild is in Eve) and alliances (groups of corporations) can compete both in the relatively safe Empire regions and the completely unfettered "0.0" regions. In the 0.0 regions the largest cooperative efforts, of any game I know of on the internet, exist. Thousands of players work together to hold territory and exploit the bounty contained therein. This is also the zone of primary violence with battles of dozens or hundreds of players being common.

    However those fighters need a lot of logistics in order to function well. This leads to numerous roles for the less violently inclined either supporting these fighters directly or making products elsewhere for use in these wars. The paradox of the game is that while scams, random violence, piracy, theft, and other forms of complete noncooperation are commonplace, cooperation is amply rewarded and a vital part of the game.

    Further the game has an interesting and very sophisticated manufacture and trade aspect. Industry is quite contrived as to materials. You take fantasy elements and minerals and turn them into fantasy spaceships and other gear. However, one interesting feature is that a considerable portion of the equipment in the game is made directly by the players, including most spaceships. Further, the economics model is amazing. More than any other game I've seen, investment makes sense. One has player capital, assets that can be used to produce income even when the player is not online. Industrialists often construct and maintain elaborate supply chains to produce highly valued goods. The market system is very sophisticated and the best effort I've seen.

    So this is a violent, often fustrating game, but it is remarkable for the degree of cooperation and competition present. The annoying non-cooperative aspects spice up it up and I doubt there is any online game (outside of some bizarre niche games like nomic [wikipedia.org]) where one sees such a wide range of legal noncooperative behaviors to overcome. Who to trust and how far to trust them is an integral challenge of the game.

  • Smile at someone as you walk past. Have a conversation with a stranger at a bus stop. For more hardcore players, try volunteer work at a local charity.
  • Acts of Gord (Score:3, Interesting)

    by drakyri (727902) on Monday November 10, 2008 @07:24AM (#25702171)
    This reminds me an awful lot of a story from the Acts of Gord [actsofgord.com]....
  • How critical is social interaction to you in gaming? If not terribly important, then SimCity or something similar. If so, then The Sims or similar. Both had extremely long, successful 'careers' and are still played. I would love to see some of the clever simulation logic in SimCity into an FPS engine or similar. Building worlds, creating some basic rules and letting those rules develop a complex system... or crash/stop... would be interesting, especially if one had the ability to step into that world and wa

  • The first two Fallout games *allowed* combat, but didn't require it. Via stealth, social skills and occasionally running away you could bypass all combat and still win the game. You got bigger XP awards for quests than for kills, so while advancement was slowed, it was still tenable to play without combat.

    Unfortunately, from what I've heard, this may not be possible in Fallout 3.

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